Ariete Main Battle Tank (Italy)

Ariete Main Battle Tank (Italy)

Ariete Main Battle Tank (Italy)

In 1982 the Italian Army issued a broad specification for a new main battle tank to replace the aging Leopard 1 and M60 MBT fleet that was bought from Germany and the United States. The tank was to be designed and built in Italy, and by 1984 the overall specification had been agreed with industry and design work was well under way on many of the components and subsystems. 1984 also saw the Otobreda Division of Alenia Difesa and the Defence Vehicles Division of IVECO form a consortium, with its headquarters in Rome, to develop a new generation of wheel and tracked vehicles for the Italian Army. Otobreda has overall responsibility for the project with IVECO being responsible for the powerpack and suspension system. The first prototype of the Ariete was completed in 1986, with the remainder being completed by 1988. Trials with the Italian Army and the manufacturer began in earnest. The prototypes fired more than 3,000 rounds of 120mm ammunition and underwent more than 450 days of combat tests. As a result, the Italian Army placed an initial order for 200 tanks and production commenced in 1995 at the Otobreda facility in La Spezia and the IVECO plant in Bolzano. The first production Ariete was completed at the end of that year. Production is expected to be completed by the end of 2001 / early 2002 with a total programme cost of somewhere around $970 million. Studies have begun into an Ariete Mk. 2, which would have a 1,500hp engine, hydropneumatic suspension system, a more advanced fire control system, increased protection and an autoloader for the 120mm smoothbore gun.

The Ariete is made of an all-steel welded construction, with composite armour on the hull front and turret front and sides, with side-skirts protecting the top of the tracks. The tank also has a laser-warning sensor mounted just ahead of the loader's hatch. Layout is conventional with the driver seated on the front right of the hull in a hydraulically adjustable seat, with a single-piece hatch with three periscopes, the central one of which can be replaced by an MES VG/DIL 100 passive periscope. The turret is in the centre of the hull with the commander and gunner on the right and the loader on the left. The commander has eight periscopes for all round observation. The loader has a single-piece hatch with two periscopes looking forward and to the left. There are blow-out panels in the turret roof to vent any secondary explosions away from the crew. The commander has a primary day / night (image intensification) stabilised panoramic sight (magnification of x 2.5 and x 10), while the gunner has a stabilised panoramic day / night (thermal) sight with laser rangefinder (x 5 magnification), which is linked to a ballistic computer, sensors and muzzle reference system. The gunner also has a backup sight, the Officine Galileo C-102 coaxial telescope with x 8 magnification and three manually selectable aiming reticules. The main armament is an Otobreda 120mm 44 calibre auto-frettaged smoothbore gun that has a gun chamber the same size of that fitted to the Leopard 2 and M1A1 / M1A2 Abrams, so the ammunition from the firm SIMMEL DIFESA is interoperable. A total of forty-two rounds are carried for the main gun, fifteen in the turret and twenty-seven beside the driver. A 7.62mm machine gun is mounted coaxially, with another 7.62mm machine gun mounted on the turret roof. Turret traverse and weapon elevation is electrohydraulic with manual backup. The engine is an IVECO V-12 MCTA diesel (1,300hp) coupled to a Renk LSG 3000 fully automatic transmission (manufactured under license by IVECO). The suspension is of a torsion bar type, with seven rubber-tyred road wheels, an idler and the front and drive wheel at the back, as well as four track return rollers. The first, second third, sixth and seventh road wheels have hydraulic shock absorbers and all seven suspension arms on either side have hydraulic bumpers fitted to limit excessive travel. The NBC system is a SP-180 pack manufactured by Sekur.

Hull length: 7.59m. Hull width: 3.42m. Height: 2.5m. (turret roof) Crew: 4. Ground Clearance: 0.44m. Weight: 54,000kg (combat). Ground pressure: 0.9kg/sq.cm. Max speed: 65km/h. Max range (internal fuel): 550km (on road). Armament: 120mm smoothbore gun, 1 x 7.62mm machine gun coaxial, 1 x 7.62mm machine gun mounted on turret roof.


Ariete MBT in Jane's Armour and Artillery 2000 - 2001 located at Cranfield
Ariete in The Website for Defence Industries - Army (Current Projects) located at www.army-technology.com
:Antill, P. (1 June 2001), Ariete Main Battle Tank (Italy)



CIO Ariete

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/03/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

In 1984, the Italian concerns of OTO Melara and Iveco-FIAT came together to form CIO - "Consorzio Iveco Oto Melara". The goal of the parties was to develop three different modern battlefield systems sharing the maximum amount of automotive components to reduce cost and logistical support for the Italian Army in the long term. The result became the Dardo Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the Centauro 8x8 wheeled tank destroyer and the Ariete ("Battering Ram") Main Battle Tank. Sharing duties, OTO Melara served as the prime contractor overseeing design and engineering while supplying various components and Iveco-FIAT was charged with developing and manufacturing the required powerpack and related systems.

The Ariete became a 60-ton vehicle fitted with a 1,275 horsepower V12 MTCA turbocharged diesel-fueled engine (coupled to an automatic transmission) sitting atop a torsion bar suspension system. Overall configuration of the MBT was standard with a four-man crew, the 120mm L44 smoothbore tank gun in a 360-degree traversing turret and the engine/transmission fitted to the rear. The track system was partially covered in side skirt armor and incorporated seven double-tired road wheels, a rear drive sprocket and a front-mounted track idler. The driver sat at the front-right of the hull with the commander, gunner and loader in the well-sloped turret. Self-defense was through 2 x 7.62mm machine guns - one fitted coaxially and the other along the turret roof for anti-aircraft defense. Performance indicated a road speed of 40 miles per hour with an operational range of 342 miles. 40 x 120mm projectiles were carried aboard for the main gun as was 2,400 x 7.62mm rounds of ammunition for the machine guns.

The Ariete was completed with a welded steel/composite protection scheme which allows it to counter the threat as posed by HEAT warheads and the like. Add-on armor is further supported according to CIO. NBC protection was standard for the crew as was night vision equipment. 2 x 4 smoke grenade dischargers allow the crew to provide their own smoke screen as required and a laser warning sensor is mounted near the loader's hatch to detect incoming guided threats. Fording is up to 2.1 meters with prior preparation and 1.2 meters without.

Production of Ariete tanks was out of the OTO Melara facility at La Spezia and Italian Army orders ran a total of 200 examples. These were divided into four tank battalions with remainders held in reserve. No foreign orders have emerged and no follow-up orders have been placed by the Italian Army. Deliveries began in 1995 to which the tank entered service that same year.

By all accounts, the Ariete is a modern capable main battle tank system with day/night operational capabilities. An early issue with engine power was rectified by Iveco bringing output from 1,275 horsepower to 1,600 horsepower. The armor protection scheme puts it on par with the base forms of the American M1 Abrams or British Challenger 2 series MBTs. Firing on-the-move is allowed through an advanced digital fire-control system that works with the dual-axis-stabilized main gun. Road performance is excellent and cross-country capabilities are well noted. The 120mm main gun is of OTO Melara's own design and it is cleared to fire all NATO-supported ordnance with excellent penetration results.

The final Ariete tank of the 200-strong order was delivered to the Italian Army in August of 2002. CIO marketing refers to the Ariete as a "second generation" MBT.


CIO Ariete

In 1984, the Italian concerns of OTO Melara and Iveco-FIAT came together to form CIO - "Consorzio Iveco Oto Melara". The goal of the parties was to develop three different modern battlefield systems sharing the maximum amount of automotive components to reduce cost and logistical support for the Italian Army in the long term. The result became the Dardo Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the Centauro 8x8 wheeled tank destroyer and the Ariete ("Battering Ram") Main Battle Tank. Sharing duties, OTO Melara served as the prime contractor overseeing design and engineering while supplying various components and Iveco-FIAT was charged with developing and manufacturing the required powerpack and related systems.

The Ariete became a 60-ton vehicle fitted with a 1,275 horsepower V12 MTCA turbocharged diesel-fueled engine (coupled to an automatic transmission) sitting atop a torsion bar suspension system. Overall configuration of the MBT was standard with a four-man crew, the 120mm L44 smoothbore tank gun in a 360-degree traversing turret and the engine/transmission fitted to the rear. The track system was partially covered in side skirt armor and incorporated seven double-tired road wheels, a rear drive sprocket and a front-mounted track idler. The driver sat at the front-right of the hull with the commander, gunner and loader in the well-sloped turret. Self-defense was through 2 x 7.62mm machine guns - one fitted coaxially and the other along the turret roof for anti-aircraft defense. Performance indicated a road speed of 40 miles per hour with an operational range of 342 miles. 40 x 120mm projectiles were carried aboard for the main gun as was 2,400 x 7.62mm rounds of ammunition for the machine guns.

The Ariete was completed with a welded steel/composite protection scheme which allows it to counter the threat as posed by HEAT warheads and the like. Add-on armor is further supported according to CIO. NBC protection was standard for the crew as was night vision equipment. 2 x 4 smoke grenade dischargers allow the crew to provide their own smoke screen as required and a laser warning sensor is mounted near the loader's hatch to detect incoming guided threats. Fording is up to 2.1 meters with prior preparation and 1.2 meters without.

Production of Ariete tanks was out of the OTO Melara facility at La Spezia and Italian Army orders ran a total of 200 examples. These were divided into four tank battalions with remainders held in reserve. No foreign orders have emerged and no follow-up orders have been placed by the Italian Army. Deliveries began in 1995 to which the tank entered service that same year.

By all accounts, the Ariete is a modern capable main battle tank system with day/night operational capabilities. An early issue with engine power was rectified by Iveco bringing output from 1,275 horsepower to 1,600 horsepower. The armor protection scheme puts it on par with the base forms of the American M1 Abrams or British Challenger 2 series MBTs. Firing on-the-move is allowed through an advanced digital fire-control system that works with the dual-axis-stabilized main gun. Road performance is excellent and cross-country capabilities are well noted. The 120mm main gun is of OTO Melara's own design and it is cleared to fire all NATO-supported ordnance with excellent penetration results.

The final Ariete tank of the 200-strong order was delivered to the Italian Army in August of 2002. CIO marketing refers to the Ariete as a "second generation" MBT.


History [ edit | edit source ]

On 10 January 1991 the brigade disbanded the 10th Tank Battalion and the 20th Artillery Group. The 13th Tank Battalion had already been reduced to a reserve unit and transferred to the Mechanized Brigade "Mantova" in December 1989. As replacement the brigade received units from brigades disbanded in 1991 during the army's drawdown of forces after the end of the Cold War: from the disbanded Armored Brigade "Mameli" came the 3rd Tank Battalion "M.O. Galas", the 5th Tank Battalion "M.O. Chiamenti" and the 23rd Bersaglieri Battalion "Castel di Borgo" and from the Mechanized Brigade "Garibaldi", which had moved to Caserta in the south of Italy, came the 19th Self-propelled Field Artillery Group "Rialto" and 26th Bersaglieri Battalion "Castelfidardo", which left the brigade already after half a year. ΐ]

In 1992 the brigade received the 2nd (Recruits Training) Battalion "Pordenone", while the 23rd Bersaglieri Battalion moved to Trapani in Sicily to join the Mechanized Brigade "Aosta". The same year the brigade's battalions returned to be called regiments, although size and composition did not change. On 31 July 1995 the 63rd Tank Regiment in Cordenons transferred from the Mechanized Brigade "Mantova" to the Ariete. On 30 November of the same year the 63rd Tank Regiment was renamed as 132nd Tank Regiment and the tank unit in Aviano was disbanded.

In 1997 the 33rd Tank Regiment of the Mechanized Brigade "Friuli" arrived and when the Mechanized Brigade "Mantova" was disbanded on 30 August of the same year the Ariete received the 82nd Mechanized Infantry Regiment "Torino" in Cormons, but already on 5 November 2001 the 82nd Regiment moved to Barletta in Southern Italy to join the Armored Brigade "Pinerolo". On 1 December 2000 the Ariete received the 10th Engineer Regiment. When the Armored Brigade "Centauro" disbanded on 5 October 2002 the Ariete received the 3rd Bersaglieri Regiment and the 4th Tank Regiment. On 25 November 2009 the 3rd Bersaglieri Regiment moved to Sardinia and joined the Mechanized Brigade "Sassari". ΐ]


Italy Might Join French German Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) Project

According to edrmagazine.eu, Italy might join the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) programme. Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) is a project by France and Germany since 2012 to replace their currently deployed Leclerc Tank and Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs). In 2016, the program was in the concept phase which was projected to be completed by 2017. During recent bilateral talks with the German counterpart, the possibility of allowing Italy to participate in the so-called Main Ground Combat System programme, which aims at the development of a new main battle tank, emerged,” Italian Undersecretary for Defence Giulio Calvisi said.

The Italian Ministry of Defence is committed to identifying further possible solutions should the project being currently underway by the CIO (Consorzio Iveco DV-Oto Melara) would not meet expectations. The CIO received a development contract worth 35 million Euro for the Mid-Life Update of the Ariete MBT, that will bring to the delivery of three prototypes. The Ariete MBT is currently in service with three tank regiments in the Italian Army, these units fielding a total of 123 tanks. The C1 Ariete is the main battle tank of the Italian Army, developed by Consorzio Iveco Oto Melara (CIO). The chassis and engine were produced by Iveco, while the turret and fire-control system were supplied by OTO Melara.

A precondition for the new tank is the development of a new main cannon with better performance. German defence company Rheinmetall joined the program and will develop a new cannon Rheinmetall Rh-130 L / 51 with better performance than the Rheinmetall L/55 cannon which was introduced on the Leopard 2A6. The first step in the MGCS program was a Franco-German technology demonstrator, to show that the two countries could jointly develop a next generation tank. At Eurosatory fair in June 2018 in Paris, France, KNDS unveiled the “European Main Battle Tank” (EMBT), a technology demonstrator main battle tank that combines the hull of a Leopard 2A7 with the lighter, two-man turret of a Leclerc.

The KMW+Nexter Defense Systems (KNDS) is a European defence industry holding company, which is result for merger between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Nexter Systems. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann manufactures tanks, Nexter makes artillery. On 29 July 2015 the merger between the two companies has been officially finalized in Paris. In June 2018 Germany and France signed a letter of intent for KNDS to develop Main Combat Ground System, a common main battle tank, and Common Indirect Fire System, a common 155mm self-propelled artillery gun. KNDS’s first projects is upgrading the Leopard 2, with a focus on increasing effectiveness against contemporary threats like the ATGM and the Russian T-14 Armata. European Main Battle Tank (EMBT) unveiled by KNDS Nexter KMW


Fire control system

The fire control system OG14L3 TURMS of tanks produced by Galileo Avionica, including the commander’s SP-T-694 day and night observation device, the gunner’s infrared viewfinder and laser rangefinder to quickly detect targets.

The digital fire control computer is capable of measuring wind speed, humidity and external weather conditions, which further enhances the accuracy of the shot. The computer is also a component of the navigation system, allowing tactical information exchange between tanks.

On the C1 Ariete tank there is a system called “Hunter – Killer” that helps the commander to observe the 360-degree panoramic view of the battlefield without having to change his position to avoid being exposed. In combat, the commander and the gunner share a thermal viewfinder, in this shooting mode the tank is capable of handling targets from a distance of 1,500m.

Currently, the Italian army is the only force in the world to own this tank with the number of 200 units. In the early 2000s, an upgraded version was planned for development, called the C2 Ariete.

Due to budget restrictions, the program was later canceled. However, the planned improvements were applied to C1 Ariete as mentioned above. In the near future, C1 Ariete will remain the backbone of the Italian Army.

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Will Poland build a Main Battle Tank with Italy and Spain? "Political decisions are the key"

The Italian authorities have created a proposal for Poland and other states, including Spain, to jointly pursue a new generation MBT programme. PGZ emphasizes its interest in creating a new main battle tank, not excluding a joint project with some international partners. For the project to take place, political decisions are required.

Italy is considering the launch of a new main battle tank development project in collaboration with the NATO allies. The new platform would replace the C1 Ariete MBTs. Poland is among the nations that received the proposal. The Italian Ministry of Defence reached out to some of the EU nations, including Poland, and proposed collaboration in a project pertaining to land platforms. Analysis of that proposal is currently in progress at the Polish Ministry of Defence, the press department of the Operational Center of the Polish Ministry of Defence informed.

The proposal to begin effort aimed at the development of a new generation Italian-Polish MBT was mentioned last year by Marco Lupo, President at Leonardo Poland, during an interview for Leonardo Poland. He told us that Leonardo’s proposal assumes that a new MBT would be developed jointly, based on advanced tech provided by Leonardo and the PGZ Group. Lupo also noted that the Italian military has already expressed its need to introduce a replacement of the C-1 Ariete MBT. The new platform would be seen as a response to that requirement.

Italian C1 Ariete main battle tanks. Image Credit: Spc. Nathanael Mercado/US Army.

Currently, we already know that proposal as such has been submitted at the governmental level. Spain is another state that is being considered within the context of the Italian MBT-related collaboration. Defence24.pl has found out that the Spanish military attache contacted Poland to carry out a preliminary review of the Italian proposal.

Responding to our questions on the possible launch of a new generation MBT project involving Italy, the PGZ Group still stresses the fact that it remains ready to get involved in a program aimed at developing a new MBT through international collaboration. To define the direction, and the division of work, the partner selection needs to take place at the governmental level. PGZ is engaged in talks with a number of different potential partners in this area, nonetheless, the direction selection is not placed in the hands of the industry – the PGZ Group stated.

PGZ Group has submitted its own proposal to the MoD last year, within the scope of creating a Polish MBT, with the broadest degree of involvement possible, on the part of the Polish industry, public and private. We have carried out an analysis of the Polish potential and of the areas where we can be autonomous and those where R&D work launch is recommended, or those where it would be desirable to launch a collaboration with a foreign partner, the Group stressed. PGZ also added that the project itself is still solely a subject of analysis at the MoD. Thus, no details, for instance on work division, can be disclosed.

PGZ also notes, referring to the possible international cooperation, that scale “is the key in projects of that level of convolution. If not only are results of the work expected to meet the operational requirements, but they are also to be economically viable and profitable, then it is justified to adopt and accept involvement on the part of at least two-three states. This trend may be observed in a number of similar projects pursued around the world at the moment.”

The programme pursued by the Polish Ministry of Defence mentioned by PGZ is the Wilk MBT project. It is listed as one of the priorities of the MoD’s Technical Modernization Plan. The new MBTs are required to replace the obsolete T-72 and PT-91 platforms. The modifications of those have only been a gap-filler solution, since the aforesaid platforms have since become obsolete, not meeting the requirements of the contemporary battlespace.

The Wilk programme that is still in the analytical phase can be viewed as a major industrial opportunity, as Poland would be in need of 500 or even more MBTs. This quantity will be needed to replace the platforms making use of Soviet tech. The involvement of the Polish defence industry, public and private, is of key importance in our opinion, for instance, due to the potential scale the order may have, and due to the possible technological and know-how advancement, PGZ stressed.

It shall be recalled that both Poland, as well as Italy, wanted to become a part of the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) new generation MBT programme pursued by Germany (leader) and France. So far, these efforts have not had a tangible result. It was in August last year, during the talks between Mariusz Błaszczak (head of the Polish Ministry of Defence) and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (Błaszczak’s German counterpart) when Błaszczak was proposing that this programme shall be accelerated and that it should also become a part of PESCO.

The acceleration is especially relevant as the schedule adopted by the French and the Germans suggests that the new MBT should be delivered as of 2035. The date seems to be adequate for the current participants of the programme that operate the upgraded Leopard 2 and Leclerc platforms (that are still undergoing upgrades). However, for Poland willing to replace its obsolete T-72 and PT-91, this would not be optimal. Joining the MGCS programme at further stages, with the assumptions being defined in more detail (which has not been excluded by the French and by the Germans), could also create less optimal conditions for participation.

For these reasons, Poland is seeking alternative paths in the Wilk programme. The Italian proposal is yet another Wilk programme offer that envisages an international cooperative effort. Hyundai Rotem has submitted a proposal to jointly develop the K2PL MBT, a new variant of the K2 platform operated by the South Korean military adopted to meet the Polish requirements and using domestic, or Polonized components. The offer is supported by the Korean government, also within the scope of financing. The Korean proposal would involve broad cooperation, stepping beyond the defence sector too.

The decision on the implementation of the Wilk programme would have a political and strategic profile. It is a valid recommendation then, for the Polish industry to be involved in this project as deeply as possible. The competition between the bidders shall pave the way towards the selection of the best proposal and towards creating a generational leap for the Polish armoured units and for the industry as well, not only when it comes to facilities dealing with the development of armoured platforms.


Development

During the first years of adoption, the Ariete MBT showed some deficiencies regarding the powerplant. While the original V12 1,250 hp FIAT-Iveco MTCA (Modular Turbo-Charged Aftercooler) was a coupling of two of the V6 engines used by several Italian Army vehicles such as the Centauro tank destroyer and the Dardo IFV, it produced less power than the most advanced contemporary western designs. The Ariete's engine had to run at a high RPM to perform well, thus reducing the operating time between failures.

Moreover, to retain a good power-to-weight ratio, the total weight of the tank had to be kept below 60 tonnes. The relatively light weight of the Ariete helped lower consumption and facilitated the transport and mobility of the MBT (especially over bridges). This was obtained partially at the expense of the thickness of the armour that, only partially compensated by the good ballistic shape of the vehicle, raised some doubt about its ability to survive in the harshest environments.


The Italian C1 Ariete Protection

It also uses composite armour (not Chobham), which prove to be superior armour systems. Mounted on the front of the tank is the BAE Systems Italia manufactured RALM laser warning receiver. The system gives the tank a 360° detection of laser guided ATM and warning. It carries the standard smoke grenade dischargers (x4 either side) on the turret. It also has a standard NBC system manufactured by Sekur SpA.


Ariete

The Ariete (ram) main battle tank (also referred as the C-1) was developed by OTO Melara and FIAT. It is named in honor to Italian Ariete armored division, which fought during World War II. This main battle tank was intended to replace ageing fleet of M60A1 in service with Italian army. First prototype of the C-1 Ariete was revealed in 1986 and six pre-production vehicles were built in 1989. It entered service with Italian army in 1995. Italy operates 200 MBTs of this type.

This main battle tank is protected with composite armor, similar to British Chobham. Add-on armor kits can be fitted if necessary.

Ariete is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun, developed by Oto Melara. It fires a full range of standard NATO ammunition. This gun is loaded manually. Only 15 rounds are carried in the turret bustle and are ready to use, while the rest of ammunition is stored at the front of the hull.

Vehicle's Galileo fire control system shares many components with the fire control system, installed on Centauro 105 mm wheeled tank destroyer.

Secondary armament consists of two 7.62 mm machine guns. One of them is coaxially mounted with the main gun, while the other is placed on top of the roof.

The Ariete is powered by IVECO V-12 MTCA turbocharged multi-fuel diesel engine, developing 1 300 horsepower. IVECO company also provided other automotive components for this tank. Tracks and some chassis components of the Ariete is similar to the German Leopard 2 MBT.

The Ariete Mk.2 was revealed in 2005. It has a modular armor, 120 mm smoothbore gun fitted with an autoloader, hydropneumatic suspension, 1 500 hp engine and more advanced fire control system.


Watch the video: C1 Ariete Main Battle Tank - Overview